Threats, explicit messages pour in for Waukesha school board members
WAUKESHA, Wis. -
Threats and lots of swearing were leveled against Waukesha School Board members.
FOX6 acquired emails and voicemails through an open record request and some are graphic.
One email says "I hope you get hit by a bus."
The messages become public on the same day the school board hosts a special meeting to revisit an issue that led to the national controversy.
The debate centers on free meals for all students.
Waukesha's school board in June voted unanimously to opt out of the federal free meals for all program, and instead planned to return to free and reduced-priced lunch for lower-income students.
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One email writes, ""I hope you and your children choke and die."
Another email said, "You’re about to get ruined."
Another wishes a board member die by suicide.
Another writes, "I hope you are harassed and bullied to the point where you have to resign your position."
"Here is to hoping that your owm [sic] children suffer hunger and are met with cruelty and judgment by those they turn to for help," wrote one person.
Another said, "All of you are going to be spoiled in severe ways. get ready." The writer then listed the school board members' addresses. "All of you. targeted."
A subject line declared, "you’re about to get ruined."
FOX6 also acquired voicemails left for Waukesha school board members.
"Your school board is made up of hateful, loathsome, evil monsters. I hope they come for you with torches and pitchforks," one voicemail said.
"You should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves for absolutely passing this. I wanted to let you know: the world is absolutely watching you and disgusted by Wisconsin and particularly Waukesha," said another.
"How dare you? Become spoiled because they get to eat? Food is now something that you are spoiled about? I hope you go home and somebody takes your paycheck because you might be getting a little spoiled," said another voicemail.
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A Washington Post headline and many of the comments referenced Karin Rajnicek’s words at a May committee meeting where she said she was worried about the free lunch for all program. Here's the fuller context of her words:
"For 17 years they have been packing their own lunches every day, cause school lunch is too expensive for us. I had three kids. I had them, so I am going to feed them. I think that’s the responsibility of an adult. We have 300 (is it 300 this year?) homeless kids in our population, but we have help for them. And we have free and reduced lunch for our low-income families and all of that. But, when you make a blanket, everything’s free for everyone, that means that there are people out there that do not have kids that are paying for my kids to eat. Can we just get back to, ‘If I have children, I should be able to provide for them and if can’t, there is help for them?’ Stop feeding people who can provide for them. I feel that this is a big problem. And it’s really easy to get sucked into and to become spoiled and to think it’s not my problem anymore. It’s everyone else’s problem to feed my children. So, I don’t agree with it at all. Every time I hear the word "free," I just think it’s not free. Because it doesn’t grow on trees. We’re not going around picking money off. It’s other people paying for our children to eat. And when we can provide for that in our own way in our own family, I think it’s wrong for us to take it."
The board and administration cited a number of other reasons for their June decision, including that food was going to waste and that poorer students would be helped without having to give free meals to all.
Opponents of the board's June decision say the meals for all program is helping kids who might be struggling but not able to qualify for the normal free or reduced lunch program.
"It doesn’t matter if they absolutely qualify, because I know my father fluctuated with his pay. Sometimes we did, sometimes we did not qualify for those free lunches and free breakfasts," said one caller." And I can tell you on the days that I went hungry in school, I had friends treat me differently because I could tell they had pity on me."
Other calls took a different tone.
"Everyone knows who you are. Everyone sees your picture, so enjoy going to a restaurant and having all your food spit in," one caller said, finishing with expletives for other bodily functions.
"I hope this is a nightmare to your life," one caller said, "You’re an absolute disgusting, despicable woman."